You are in: Home » Beijing Religion

Beijing Religion

See Also

See Also...

Learn Chinese Online

If you're interested in learning Chinese, Beijing Made Easy highly recommends signing up to the *free trial* from Chinese Pod - all you have to give them is your name and email address.

Chinese Religion and Philosophy

Chinese Religion: Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and more

Chinese religion and Chinese philosophy are very appropriate terms, because Chinese beliefs have always been Chinese more than they have been part of any one religion or philosophy.

Traditional Chinese religion blended the ‘three great teachings’ of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism with even older local religious beliefs. A typical individual might not adhere rigidly to any one school, but take a pragmatic approach, picking and choosing elements and practices from each of the three strands.

Chinese Religion – Blending Philosophies

Indeed, the founders of each of the three main philosophies were deified and worshipped equally. It is perhaps this ability to blend and balance that is the core of Chinese religion and philosophy, rather than any one set of beliefs.

This aspect will no doubt continue to be seen in the future as older beliefs adjust, and absorb the new ethos of capitalism and the growing influence of Christianity and Islam.

Chinese Religion – Modern Society

Modern Chinese appear at first sight to have forgotten about religion and philosophy in the drive to get rich quick. Most of the traditional centres of religion – Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist temples, have either disappeared or turned into tourist attractions.

Most Chinese are quite uninterested in philosophy and questions of hell and the afterlife, instead focusing on questions directly in front of them – how to create a stable society and how to get ahead in life.

This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that the CCP has spent most of the past 50 years telling people that religion is mumbo-jumbo superstition and trying to supplant traditional beliefs with a philosophy combining Socialism and a great deal of patriotism.

Chinese Religion – Down but not out

It should not be assume, however, that all traditional forms of religion are dead. Confucianism, long derided by the Communists, never really went away.

Even though many Chinese view Confucian beliefs as archaic, Confucian thought clearly underlines many typical Chinese thought patterns. Ironically, Confucius might well have grudgingly approved of the patriarchal form of government that the CCP is trying to become.

More overtly religious beliefs are live and well too – just visit a temple on Guanyin’s birthday, or a graveyard at Qingming Jie to find out.

Chinese Religion – Capitalism, Christianity and Islam

The government’s switch to ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ (code for naked capitalism, without the loss of face that dropping the socialist rhetoric would imply) has left a religious and spiritual vacuum that has yet to be filled.

Government statistics indicate that Islam may be the most widely practised religion in China today with upwards of 15 million adherents, probably many more (mostly among ethnic minorities).

Christianity is next with around 7 million believers. The position of Buddhism is interesting – there are no official figures. Many Chinese visit Buddhist temples but few would claim to be Buddhist.

Chinese Religion – belief in Chinese-ness

It is interesting to note the historical tendency of Chinese to absorb and adapt foreign religions and cultures. China has often been invaded or subjugated, but always manage to hold onto its own set of beliefs.

This is the main reason why Chinese can claim to have inherited a 5,000 year old civilisation, and contributes to their own self belief and feeling of superiority, even when they’re at their weakest.

Even Socialism, which can arguably be seen as a foreign influence, has now been ‘Chineseified’ into ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’.

Recommended Chinese culture articles:

Traditional Chinese Architecture: Evolution and History, Chinese Siheyuan Courtyards

Chinese Religion: How To Tell Chinese Temples Apart, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism

Beijing Arts: Chinese Opera, Acrobatics, Tai Chi, Chinese Gardens

Beijing Society: Er Nai, Lucky Numbers, Chinese Etiquette, Drugs in China

Chinese History: Chairman Mao Zedong, Eunuchs, Chinese Emperors, Ancient History Timeline, Concubines, 20th Century Timeline


Beijing Hotels

Great discounts on Beijing hotels
Beijing Hotels And Accommodation

Beijing hotels – from backpacker hostels to elegant courtyard hotels, Beijing Made Easy gives you the lowdown on where to stay and how to book it – Beijing hotels made easy.

Beijing Flights

Flights to Beijng from around the world
Beijing Flights And Travel

Beijing Flights – flying times and getting to Beijing Capital Airport, flight booking and who to fly with – everything you need to make Beijing flights easy.

Beijing Attractions

What to see and do around Beijing
Beijing Attractions: The Great Wall of China

Wonder at the Great Wall, be awed by the magnificent Forbidden City, drink in the scenery from a boat on the Summer Palace’s Kunming Lake.



Beijing Made Easy Beijing History And Culture Beijing Entertainment Beijing Events Beijing Made Easy Beijing Flights Beijing Food Beijing History Beijing Hotels Beijing Shops And Shopping Beijing Sights Beijing Tourism Guide Beijing Tours Beijing Travel Beijing Travel Insurance Beijing Visitor Guide Beijing Weather Beijing Nightlife Beijing Bars Beijing Clubs Beijing Visitor Attractions